Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, spokesperson of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., has accused the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as a “co-conspirator” in the alleged electoral fraud committed by the camp of Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo to secure her vice presidency win in the 2016 national elections.
These remarks were made in response to Comelec’s decision to back an appeal by Ms. Robredo’s camp, citing that the 25% shading threshold was applied in the 2016 general elections.
“We are not at all surprised with the Comelec’s position. The conspiracy is so clear and the co-conspirator is not expected to admit it,” Mr. Rodriguez said in a statement on Friday, July 27. “The purpose of the election protest is primarily to question how the Comelec, then under the tutelage of the disgraced and impeached Andres Bautista, have misconducted the election, undertaken a false canvassing and manipulated the transmission of results in favor of Mrs. Robredo.”
Mr. Rodriguez also said that “(b)y Comelec’s own admission that it is only the Supreme Court, sitting as the Electoral Tribunal, that has sole and exclusive jurisdiction to try and decide cases involving the qualification, election and returns for the position of Vice President, it had effectively divested itself of any legal standing to rule on any matter pending before the PET (Presidential Electoral Tribunal).”
“As it was made suspiciously four months after the May 2016 elections and as an after thought in support of Robredo’s belated assertions, Comelec’s position on the threshold percentage is not only patently illegal but at best meant to justify the cheating done to favor Mrs. Robredo and sway the public opinion to generate support on her continuing attempt to cheat even more,” the lawyer said further.
Ms. Robredo’s camp, through lawyer Ibarra “Barry” M. Gutierrez III, said: “There is no such conspiracy with the Comelec, and Mr. Rodriguez is again pulling stories out of thin air.”
“Mr. Rodriguez is found lying once again, when he claimed that the threshold was lowered after the elections, ‘as an after thought (sic) in support of’ VP Leni’s defense. News reports, dating back to February 2016, belie this baseless allegation, however: the Comelec decided to adopt a 25% threshold for the vote counting machines to lessen disenfranchisement and give fuller effect to the intention of each voter,” Mr. Gutierrez added.
He said the Sep. 2016 resolution that Mr. Rodriguez was referring to “merely affirmed that the VCMs (vote-counting machines) read the votes correctly, as found by the Random Manual Audit conducted after the elections.”
“It’s insulting that they continue these attempts to fool the Filipino electorate this way, but perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Mr. Marcos and his spokesperson could come up with such wild accusations. After all, they seem well-versed in the art of deception,” Ms. Robredo’s camp also said. — Arjay L. Balinbin